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1928 Richard 2023

Richard Melvin Morris

June 8, 1928 — October 23, 2023

Pocatello

Richard’s best friend once told him that he was nearly impossible to insult. It was just one reason that he had so many best friends.

Richard, 95, died on October 23, 2023 in Pocatello, Idaho, of natural causes. His unabashed love of cheeseburgers, French fries and strawberry milkshakes caused his children to entertain the thought of adding the phrase “Long life through junk food” to the bench that marks his final resting place overlooking the Snake River.

He was the oldest of two sons born to Thomas Melvin (T.M.) and Jennie Elizabeth Morris in American Falls, Idaho. His brother, Leon, arrived two years later. An older sister, Ellen Beth, died of diphtheria at one year old.

Richard was a happy child, described by one teacher as “prone to mischief.”

A proud graduate of American Falls High School Class of 1946, he lettered in football, basketball and track. Agile and quick, he played first-string guard on the Beavers basketball team that piled up an astonishing 33-1 season that year.

In 2010, Richard and the surviving members of the team were honored with the “Legends of the Game” award presented at halftime of the state tournament championship game in Nampa.

In 2005 after discovering that the AFHS sports trophies had been left dusty and forgotten in a closet, he and former teammate Edgar Jacobs raised enough money to restore them to glory in new glass cases at the school. He was proud of what the school’s athletes had accomplished and didn’t want it forgotten.

After high school, he turned down a football scholarship at the University of Idaho to stay near to his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Margueritte L. Sikes. He attended Idaho State College in Pocatello where he completed a degree in business, played football and basketball.

He and Margueritte married on August 21, 1949. They were a devoted pair for nearly 70 years until she died in 2019. They had three children, Pam, Rick and Karen. About marriage, he advised, “Have a short memory.”

As a young man, he had worked on farms in the area. His father and mother owned and operated movie theaters in American Falls and Aberdeen. As a small boy, his future in the family business wasn’t assured after he was caught shooting spit wads from the balcony of the Iris Theater.

After college, he managed the theater and sweet shop in Aberdeen. With his brother, Leon, and sister-in-law Mary Jean, Richard and Margueritte owned and operated the outdoor Sunset Drive-in and Starlite Drive-In movie theaters in Pocatello and later built the city’s first multi-screen theater, the Starlite Cinemas in Chubbuck.

Richard and Margueritte also bought, renovated, and reopened the indoor Idanha Theater and the outdoor drive-in theater in Soda Springs.

They lavished love on their kids and pets, and tenderly cared for their Pocatello home by creating a marvelous yard with flower and vegetable gardens. One friend called it a “national park.”

Richard described himself as a man of few words, but for some subjects he had many. He loved to talk about hunting upland game birds with his beloved English springer spaniels, all of whom bore the first name “Dammit.” Upon his return from an outing, Margueritte would look at the dog covered in sage and burrs and say, “Who’s going to clean up that dog, Richard?”

He loved to tell stories about the many years that he floated the Salmon River for a week in the fall with the “good ol’ boys” and fished for steelhead in the days when they were plentiful. Margueritte made these adventures possible by wrangling the kids alone.

He and Margueritte followed their kids and took up skiing in their 40s. He played golf with his wife and friends for fun. He used a killer dropshot to humble his kids in tennis and Ping-pong.

He pursued competitive tennis, singles and doubles, with passion. His Poky Mountain Express team won the Idaho Southern District Championships in the 1980s and represented Idaho in the sectional tournament in Vail, Colo.

He and Marguerite were lifetime members of the First Baptist Church in Pocatello where he served on the Board of Deacons.

With his life, not words, he showed his family how to live. He left them with Richard’s Unwritten Rules:

Remember that life is good.

Bad jokes are to be shared.

Talk to one another.

Fix stuff or make it into something new.

English springer spaniels are essential for bird hunting and for hanging out, which makes you forgive them for puking on the carpet.

Homegrown sweet corn, raspberries, chokecherries and parsnips are to be savored.

A little treachery in tennis is acceptable as one ages.

Never underestimate the good ol’ boys.

Make friends. Make them family.

Love is all that really matters.

Richard is survived by children Pam Morris (Jerry Seiffert), Ketchum, ID; Rick Morris (Karen Dale aka “K.D.”), McCall, ID; Karen Wiggum (Dave), Wenatchee, WA.; grandchildren Lauren Hanford (Phillip), Wenatchee, WA. and Kellen Wiggum (Sarah), Manson, WA.; great-grandchildren Jocelyn, Olivia and Miles Wiggum; sister-in-law Mary Jean Morris Grant, nephew Dru Morris, niece Valerie Delaney (John), all of Pocatello, ID; and nieces Patty Thompson (Dennis), Downey, ID; and Jan Goodell (John), Boise, Idaho.

Special thanks to Lori Jo Gilman who brought irrepressible enthusiasm to his care even as she encouraged him to walk to the mailbox and eat his vegetables when he lived at his home.

Sincere thanks to the teams at Quinn Meadows Rehabilitation and Care Center, Grace Assisted Living and  Symbii Home Health and Hospice for making his final journey and soft landing possible.

A celebration honoring his life will be held Saturday November 4, 2023 at the First Baptist Church, 408 N. Arthur Avenue, Pocatello, Idaho beginning with family greeting time at 10:15 a.m., memorial service at 11 a.m. followed by a light lunch that will include some of his favorites (see above). Interment will follow at 2 p.m. at the Falls View Cemetery, 2938 McKinley Road, American Falls, Idaho. In lieu of flowers, donations to the First Baptist Church Food Pantry, 408 N. Arthur Avenue, Pocatello, ID. 83204, are welcome.

To order flowers, or to share condolences, memories, and photos, please visit DavisRoseMortuary.com.

To watch the service live, click the link below (the video will begin approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the service):  Service Zoom Link.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard Melvin Morris, please visit our flower store.
Morris, Richard - Service Folder.pdf
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, November 4, 2023

10:15 - 10:45 am (Mountain time)

First Baptist Church - Pocatello

408 N Arthur Ave, Pocatello, ID 83204

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, November 4, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

First Baptist Church - Pocatello

408 N Arthur Ave, Pocatello, ID 83204

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Luncheon

Saturday, November 4, 2023

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Mountain time)

First Baptist Church - Pocatello

408 N Arthur Av, POCATELLO, 83201-0000

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

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